Benchwork & Layout Tips

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chrismoore93

Central Phoenix Railroad
Hi Everyone,
I'm getting very close to starting my very first layout! For the Benchwork, if you had a lot of stuff in the garage would you 1. make a layout that is stacked on top of each other or 2. make a layout that folds up? Also for you expert layout makers. Do you have any tips?
Thanks, Chris Moore
 
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Red Oak & Western

Active Member
Chris -

While I don't have a lot of experience in garage layouts (due to humidity and/or temperature problems in the locations were we have lived), I due have a few ideas.

I would avoid fold up layout. My guess is that you would have problems with ballast falling out of the rails, structures losing parts, etc. Gravity can be brutal. What I would suggest is designing the layout so that it hoisted up to the ceiling, similar to many bicycle storage systems. A series of ropes and pulleys connect to the corners of the layout and raise it when the ropes are pulled. I'm doing a bad job of explaining it, it sounds more difficult than it really is. I don't have any way of posting pictures; an illustration would show the obvious much better than I can explain it. You might also want to add folding legs. Then you could use all the space under the layout when it is raised.

Just some ideas, hope they help.

Kevin
 

chrismoore93

Central Phoenix Railroad
Wow,
Sounds very good :D I'm not sure when I'll start the layout, but I'll keep that idea in mind.
Thanks,
Chris Moore
 

B_Kosanda

Member
For the garage, I would think that you would want to find a way to control the dirt that is going to accumulate all over everything. If you don't, the layout will get trashed in short order. A fold-up layout that you could cover with a plastic sheet when not in use would accomplish this.

How big is this going to be?

Bill
 
N

Nibbler

Guest
Hello how would you build a fold up layout? that sounds kinda neat. I went to a train show and it all looked like tables bolted together. even that would be good but how could you stack them with out breaking the trees and everything?
Alex
 

KenKzak

Displaced D&H fan
The March/April 2005 issue of N-Scale magazine has an interesting article on a garage layout. The article discusses the benchwork and philosophy leading to the design.
It's a 10ft wide x 6ft rectangle with duckunder center operation, and is built tall enough to park the nose of a car under it. At this size it would certainly be applicable to some of the larger scales as well.

One thing the author discusses is that if you have to unpack or setup every time you want to do a little work or running, you won't be as likely to do so.
This is a hassle with modular layouts and even worse with a foldup. Think about all the stuff that accumulates on the table when your working on it, now consider if you forget to pick up a tool or loco before folding up?

Ken
 

B_Kosanda

Member
I am thinking the same thing. If it's too hard to fold out and set up for running, it won't get used. I'm thinking of something that folds up like a ping-pong table. When it is folded up, it would look like a "U". That way the trees and structures on the folded up sides would not hit each other. Everything would need to be firmly glued in place.

Bill
 

chrismoore93

Central Phoenix Railroad
Bill,
That's exactly what I was thinking. A table that folds up like a ping-pong table. Altough Ken does have a point about maybe leaving a locomotive or tool on it. I have a feeling this is going to be a tough decision.
Thanks,
Chris Moore
 

B_Kosanda

Member
Personally, I would never build a layout in my garage, but if that is all you have, then those are the rules. I wouldn't make this layout any bigger than a ping-pong table. Say 8 x 10. If it gets bigger, it will become too unwieldy. Also, there are not going to be many variations in terrain height allowed here. This will be a mostly-flat layout.

Bill
 

chrismoore93

Central Phoenix Railroad
Thanks Bill,
I have one more question. If you were a first time layout builder, where would you build your layout?
Thanks Again,
Chris Moore
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hi All, well there's one more possibility we haven't looked at yet. What do you think about an 4' X 8' suspended from the rafters. When not in use it could be raised into a cover (box with a dust seal) attached permenantly to the rafters. The supporting cables could be counter weighted, and in the down position the layout could be supported by legs of some sort. Although it would be heavy, one person could raise and lower it easily and not worry about damaging the scenery.
Just a thought
Willis
 

B_Kosanda

Member
Very complicated Willis. Maybe it would take longer to design and build the lifting system than the layout, maybe. Chris, if I had my choice, I would build my layout in the basement. If I had to do it all over again, I would finish the basement room PRIOR to building the layout.

Bill
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
A 'hoistable' layout seems to be the way to go for a garage, unless you're planning on parking a van or SUV under it, in which case you may have some clearance issues (or a new and unexpected skylight). However, if you have a car that won't have any clearance issues, I think it is the best compromise. A hoistable layout would allow you to do some more scenery, although again you will be limited by how far up you will need to hoist the layout (unless you have 'dead' space above the garage ceiling, and you can build a 'box' above for the layout to live in).

Red Oak & Western said:
What I would suggest is designing the layout so that it hoisted up to the ceiling, similar to many bicycle storage systems. A series of ropes and pulleys connect to the corners of the layout and raise it when the ropes are pulled.
I would guess that through a series of pulley/rope assemblies, you would be able to use just one rope to simultaneously lift/lower all four corners of the layout. It'll probably take some trial-and-error construction and adjustment, but it is definitely do-able.
CBCNSfan said:
Hi All, well there's one more possibility we haven't looked at yet. What do you think about an 4' X 8' suspended from the rafters. When not in use it could be raised into a cover (box with a dust seal) attached permenantly to the rafters. The supporting cables could be counter weighted, and in the down position the layout could be supported by legs of some sort. Although it would be heavy, one person could raise and lower it easily and not worry about damaging the scenery.
How about attaching a set of folding legs directly to the bottom of the liftable benchwork? Foldable legs for 'banquet' type tables are relatively inexpensive, and won't add too much weight either. That would save having something else to store, and would probably be easier to use too (simply partially lowering the layout and then flipping down the legs would probably be easier than having to position separate legs while someone else lowers the layout onto them).

I have zero experience building layouts, so keep that in mind :D , but I've been rather interested in this thread and figured I'd throw my ideas in as well. I'd like to construct a similar 'contraption' in the garage, but since college is only a couple years off, it doesn't make much sense to start now :rolleyes: .
 




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